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The best video games to play while stuck at home

Being stuck at home isn’t fun for anyone, whether it is because of a global pandemic or just nasty weather. During this downtime, video games can be a great time-killer. The best games to play while stuck at home need to be lengthy, replayable, and entertaining enough to keep players occupied for days or weeks at a time. Digital Trends rounded up some of the best games to play while trapped in the house to help make any unexpected confinement at home a less boring experience.

Further reading

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

One of the most acclaimed video games ever made, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has managed to stay relevant for nearly a decade. Its main questline — which features dangerous dragons and a mysterious warrior blessed with their powers — is engaging in its own right and will take hours to complete. On top of that, there are a ton of separate quests featuring a massive civil war, a dark cult of assassins, and werewolves, to name a few — all of which take players into new territory to discover dungeons and powerful enemies. Without a standard class system, Skyrim lets players experiment and make their ideal play-style, giving it endless replay value. The game is also loaded with a collection of optional third-party mods that can make the game more challenging or add new elements to the world to spice up the experience for multiple play-throughs.

Read our full The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim review

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Best Game of 2017 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

This Nintendo masterpiece launched only a few years ago, and it is already becoming an influential template for other open-world games. Rather than stick with the standard dungeon-based approach of past Zelda games, which restricted finding new items to set moments in the story, Breath of the Wild makes almost all of Hyrule accessible from the very beginning. One player’s journey is going to be vastly different from another’s, and the emergent gameplay this format encourages makes every session exciting. Breath of the Wild is a game that can easily still hide secrets after hundreds of hours, but it doesn’t feel like it’s padding its main story by doing so.

Read our full The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild review

Dark Souls trilogy

Yes, expert players can get through the Dark Souls trilogy in just a few hours. For those who haven’t played it before, however, the total play-through time will be closer to 50 or 75 hours. FromSoftware’s action-role-playing series is notorious for its difficulty, forcing players to memorize enemies’ locations and attacks in order to survive. This makes victory feel that much sweeter, and those who are keen to explore will find tons of hidden areas and bosses. All three games are available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, while Dark Souls Remastered is also available on Nintendo Switch for anyone looking to play in bed or when someone else is using the television.

Super Mario Maker 2

Perfect for classic platformer fans and anyone interested in trying out level design, Super Mario Maker 2 contains essentially endless content because of its creation tools. Any player can design their own 2D Mario course and upload it to the game’s servers, where it can then be played by anyone else. If players are interested in making their own levels, perfecting them will take hours on end. Anyone just interested in playing others’ creations will find a huge number of creative and challenging courses. There is also a full-fledged single-player campaign that teaches all the basic platforming mechanics and even features a fun story. And if you’re gaming with a roommate or family member, you can play local co-op on one Switch console.

Read our full Super Mario Maker 2 review

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Byleth from Fire Emblem: Three Houses

The Fire Emblem games are always fairly long, but Fire Emblem: Three Houses for Nintendo Switch takes things a step further. The game features three branching storylines, plus a fourth included as premium DLC, and seeing all of its content will take dozens of hours. Even those satisfied with choosing one of the game’s titular three houses and viewing the final credits are committing more than 40 hours to the game, split between academy-based training sections and intense tactical combat. It’s the Fire Emblem series at its peak, with a great story and several difficulty options so players of all ages and skill levels can enjoy.

Death Stranding

Death Stranding gameplay

Death Stranding isn’t a game for everyone. It’s extremely slow, with much of its more than 30 hours spent walking in solitude across empty caverns. However, that also makes it great choice for hunkering down inside, as there is no way to fast-forward through its story. The mysterious science fiction tale is filled with twists from its opening moments to its final credits, and its slow tempo is a nice change compared to other brutally fast AAA games. Some of the game’s best moments involve simply walking through a peaceful field marveling at the world while beautiful music grows louder.

Read our full Death Stranding review

Red Dead Redemption II

The long-awaited prequel to one of the best open-world games ever made, Red Dead Redemption II is stunningly detailed and rich. If players want to avoid the main story and play poker for hours at a time, that is an option, or they could go hunting and find the rarest pelts in America. Exploring the enormous map Rockstar Games created will take several hours on its own, and when factoring in all the missions and collectibles strewn throughout, Red Dead Redemption II can keep players busy for months. That’s before even considering the multiplayer component Red Dead Online, which is updated constantly with new content and events.

Read our full Red Dead Redemption II review

Tetris 99

Tetris 99 is a unique game to jump into because it requires 98 other players to enjoy its signature mode. A battle royale take on Tetris, players clear lines with the same pieces they always have, but they then send those lines to other players in an attempt to knock them out. Mastering the game takes strategy, patience, and a lot of practice at quickly placing pieces, but finally winning a match is a tremendous feeling.

Dreams

media molecule's dreams

Much like with Super Mario Maker 2, Dreams is as much of a creation tool as it is a game. However, it’s a much more robust tool that can be used to create nearly any type of game. Players have made full first-person shooters, horror games, and role-playing games, including re-creations of classics from other publishers. If players are only interested in exploring others’ games, they can do so for weeks, but the tools can also make any unexpected downtime the perfect chance to jump into game design.

MLB The Show 20

mlb the show review

The Major League Baseball season will likely be delayed, but virtual re-creations don’t have any limitations. MLB The Show 20 is a baseball simulator packed to the gills with features, including Road to the Show mode, Diamond Dynasty, and online multiplayer. It’s the perfect choice for baseball fans upset they can’t watch spring training this year. For the first time ever, the game uses real Minor League players to make lower-level play even more interesting. It has a high learning curve, but that makes it perfect for extended periods stuck at home.

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